In May 2020, Caterpillar announced it had hit a significant milestone in autonomous haulage by achieving 2 billion tonnes (2.2 billion short tons) hauled using Cat MineStar Command for hauling – doubling the amount hauled since reaching the 1 billion tonnes mark in November 2018.
Now, just 12 months later, an additional 1 billion tonnes of material has been successfully hauled by Cat autonomous trucks, enabling the company to surpass the 3 billion tonnes milestone. The achievement is joined by an expansion of the types of commodities hauled autonomously across a growing number of Cat mining truck class sizes, as well as other brands of mining equipment.
“Since surpassing the 2 billion tonnes milestone, we’ve equipped more mines with Command trucks and have established the world’s first gold mining application with Command for hauling,” said Jim Hawkins, director of Cat MineStar Solutions. “Since surpassing 1 billion tonnes, we’ve expanded our Command fleet by nearly 250%.”
Caterpillar has Command autonomous haulage system (AHS) fleets operating across North America, South America and Australia at 17 mine locations, operated by nine different customers. Commodities mined include iron ore, oil sands, copper, coal and gold.
Command for haul trucks now spans class sizes from 210 to 400 US tons and includes the 789D, 793D, 793F, 797F and the 297-tonne (327-ton) 794 AC with electric drive. Command retrofit kits are available for the company's mining trucks as well as other brands of trucks and loading equipment.
Since the first autonomous Cat trucks were commissioned in 2013, AHS models have traveled more than 68.3 million miles, equivalent to a minimum-distance, straightline roundtrip journey to Mars, with no lost-time injuries associated with automated truck operation. Customers using Command for hauling report significant gains in productivity (up to 30%) and truck utilization rates with lower costs per tonne.
“We continue to decrease the time between our major milestone targets because, from initial contract to full deployment, we constantly improve Command implementation efficiency. Consistent with previous milestone trends, we anticipate crossing the 4 billion tonnes threshold at even a faster pace than achieving 3 billion tonnes,” said Marc Cameron, vice president, Caterpillar Resource Industries. “Looking forward, we are planning the expansion of Command for hauling to include our 140-tonne (150-ton) class Cat 785 mining truck.”